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Four Seasons in Rome

You have seen my blog review of Cloud Cuckoo Land by the very talented Anthony Doerr. His previous masterpiece was All the Light We Cannot See, the first novel of his I read. So, when I noticed Doerr’s memoir Four Seasons in Rome, I had to read it. Afterall, it’s about Rome and writing, both I know something about.

Doerr received a dream job as an artist in residence at the American Academy in Rome, where he was housed and fed and allowed free rein to do as he liked. However, the dream job can be a nightmare when you have newborn twin boys and a wife. Doerr spends much of his memoir describing the sleepless pain of parenthood traveling to a faraway land with diaper-wearing tots in tow.

However, the many sections that tour Rome are delightful to someone who has some familiarity with the eternal city. Seeing it through his eyes was delightful. His struggle with the language elicits empathy, but my Ellen is proficient in Italian and that makes it an uncommon experience.

For the writer, Doerr’s sharing of his process would have interest. If for no other reason, to see how much Doerr spends getting it to his satisfaction. Six drafts of a short story?

I recommend Four Seasons in Rome for anyone who writes or who loves Rome.

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Jackson Coppley

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